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3 Tough Perennials Put to the Test

We planted these popular plants in the worst gardening conditions we could find to discover which ones would survive, fry, or die

Fine Gardening - Issue 147

We all know that catalogs often embellish plant descriptions. Phrases like “tough as nails” and “extremely hardy” are so common that it seems odd not to see them associated with a plant. Once planted, many of these so-called “unkillable” plants are, unfortunately, anything but. To find out which plants really do deserve a toughness title, the staff of Fine Gardening planted groups of three different types of perennials (touted by catalogs as “extremely durable”) in the worst growing conditions we had: in unamended soil, in the middle of a parking lot, with no extra care. We were surprised to see which ones thrived and which ones never made it past the first month. If some of these plants could hold their own despite a terrible environment, just think how well they would do under slightly better conditions.

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